A Billion Here, A Billion There, Pretty Soon You’re Talking Real Money

Pierre Fontenot Thursday, May 3, 2018 Comments Off on A Billion Here, A Billion There, Pretty Soon You’re Talking Real Money
A Billion Here, A Billion There, Pretty Soon You’re Talking Real Money

A $5 Burger At 18% Interest

In my young ‘n dumb, I got on the no fun end of credit card debt.  I bought music, concert tickets, meals.  $325 in my checking account, $45 cash in my pocket, the odd change in my car cup holder and ashtray, I could always pay the $25 minimum.

Reagan years, Dallas, I was trying to fit in with the Yuppies.  We didn’t do McDonalds. We wore suits and ties, went to Young Republican meetings, and afterwards we ate $5 burgers in 80’s money.

I knew better.  In a moment of clarity I gave myself a good chewing out. It was one thing, to blow $5 on a hamburger (+drink+tax+tip), but to charge it, at 18% interest, and it sit there at the back of the line, adding interest, for a year and a half…my goodness…

I Wasn’t The Only One With Debt

Back in the day, if you watched Walter Cronkite on CBS you’d see the national leaders of congress, Hubert Humphrey, Mike Mansfield, Russell Long, and Everett Dirksen, and often they’d be moaning, about (just like now) the national debt.

These were Great Depression veterans, who understood living within your means. Big fuss about fiscal responsibility, always the “other” party wasting your tax dollars, they’d reluctantly sign off on the budget, but This Can’t Continue, they said, We Can’t Bury Future Generations In Our Debt (sound familiar), but year after year, they kept adding to the national debt.

It was Illinois senator Everett Dirksen, once a small town baker, who upon looking at the NUMBERS only the USA can assemble, famously said, “A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you’re talking real money…”

Now It’s A Trillion Here, A Trillion There…

Our last aircraft carrier cost over $10 billion. Nobody blinked. We already had more carriers than all the other navies in the world – combined. Deterrence is cheaper than war, but hey…any chance some contractor maybe padded the bill…a billion or so…

Anybody Up There looking out for us? Anybody in D.C. looking out for our unborn descendants, who will have to pay for this obsolete (by then) $10 billion dollar ship…plus interest…like me and my $5 burger…because we all know, the USA borrowed the money…

Income Tax Time & Wondering Where Our $ Go

Conversation at the store, customer brings up private planes, “So I ask my friend, ‘What’s the fuel mileage on your plane?’” Some numbers are thrown out: it’s either 7 gallons a mile or 7 gallons a minute, “He tells me it costs $3000 a trip.”

Ten other columns of numbers, but just the one, fuel, $3000, so someone wouldn’t have to stoop to flying first class…and this plane is just a limo with wings…

…I instantly wondered what a yacht with wings would cost.  I couldn’t help myself, shocked by the numbers, I say, out loud, in Louisiana, “Oh my goodness – imagine what it costs us to fly Trump to Florida for the weekend!”

Please, Don’t Vote For Me

If I was President (Lord help us all!) I’d be over my head, but I’d have one redeeming quality; I wouldn’t treat Your money like Monopoly money..

I’ve driven with the fuel light on…I’ve flipped couch cushions…I’ve washed the sticky off of pennies and nickels that got Coke drip on them in my car console…

I don’t take people’s labor lightly because I have worked for too little, and sometimes nothing.  I’ve sat around on New Year’s Day wondering what I had to show for all of last year.

If I was President, I’d have no chance at being Abe Lincoln, so I’d aim to be like Sam Rayburn.

Sam Rayburn

He was Speaker of the House, many terms, under many Presidents. In a town of grabbing and grafting, Rayburn was a straight arrow, Hard Shell Baptist breeding.  D.C. people with fat wallets and dirty hands were jaw dropped when he died and they found that after decades in Washington, all he had in the bank was $30,000.

When the man flew, even on official business, he paid his own way. He never opened a crack in the door for temptation.  That, is high stuff, and worthy of respect.

So, You’re Stuck With Me For President

Knowing I’d be equally inept at foreign policy and domestic policy, the one thing I could do well is not cost y’all jack squat.

Why would I fly away on the weekends?  I’d be living in the White House!  I’d just order out for pizza and watch some TV, fall asleep, like regular people, except in a way cooler house…

You know why I wouldn’t fly to Florida for the weekend? Because I’d be thinking about my first grade teacher, and the guy who ran the hardware store, and some of you that I personally know, and I’d think, ‘Not a snowball’s chance am I going to burn up all the income tax they put in – in their lifetime! – so I can have a weekend getaway!’

I work 6 days a week now: if I was President…hey, just put on a fresh pot of coffee…  Plus, it’s only four years! I can endure anything for four years. Even boredom.

If I Was A Billionaire President

Not only would I not collect a paycheck, but I wouldn’t make America pay for jack diddly. If I wanted to go on some weekend getaway I’d either repay the treasury, for everything – fuel, staff, Secret Service, the fighter pilots riding shotgun – or, if I hated the digits on the bill, like I said, I’d just snack on a pizza while staring at the picture of Kennedy, and remind myself that this too shall pass…

If I was a billionaire, and I lost $100 million by being President, so what? I’d have a garage sale, or just sell the whole garage, and the attached hotel…

That $100,000,000 would be in an investment, in a standard. A hundred presidents from now – most of them reduced to a tight summary – they’d still be talking about Washington and Lincoln, but I’d be in there too, a curious asterisk of history, a true public servant, who just gave and gave and gave…which is kind of the point of being the father of the country, isn’t it…

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This edition of Uncle P’s Bedtime Stories is brought to you by Eighty-one, where the owner still has his old ’92 Ford with 350,000 miles, and doesn’t raise his prices, and make his customers buy him something new and shiny…

Other Bedtime Stories can be found on the Eighty-one Facebook page.  He can be reached at 81creativity@gmail.com.

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